Dale Dietrich
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FCC Chairman Declares No More Blanket CableCARD Waivers

Categories: Digital TV

  Comcast Ruling (January 10, 2007)
  Cablevision Ruling (January 10, 2007)
The major U.S. cable companies can no longer avoid deploying cable-card enabled set-top boxes. Most recently Comcast had sought a waiver for set-tops that wouldn't rely on the external CableCARD to house signal-security technology. It argued this waiver would save consumers millions of dollars. Of course, the purpose of the CableCARD mandate is to open free competition, increase set-top innovation and increase consumer choice in set-top products and services such as those offered by TiVo, Microsoft's Media Center software and others without giving a preference to any one supplier/technology. Such a waiver would have given Comcast and its suppliers such a preference.

The cable industry has had seven years, plus two extensions, to separate out the security and and channel surfing functions of cable set-tops. Under the most recent FCC rules, major cable companies must start using CableCARD set-tops, and cease deploying integrated settops, starting July 1, 2007.

Comcast has said it will appeal the decision. 

Sources: MultiChannel News | Broadcasting & Cable | Engadget | ars technica | xchange  Reuters | FCC Press Release | NCTA Response

Discussed here: TiVoCommunity Forum 

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